Our favourites for National Poetry Day!

To celebrate our national celebration of poetry, we compiled a list of some of our favourite poetry books and poets. First, books:

Syndetics book coverCollected poems, 1957-1982 / Wendell Berry.
“A longtime spokesman for conservation, common sense, and sustainable agriculture, Wendell Berry writes eloquently in several styles and methods. Among other literary forms, he is a poet of great clarity and sureness. His love of language and his care for its music are matched only by his fidelity to the subjects he has written of during his first twenty-five years of work: land and nature, the family and community, tradition as the groundwork for life and culture. His graceful elegies sit easily alongside lyrics of humor and biting satire. Husbandman and husband, philosopher and Mad Farmer, he writes of values that endure, of earthy truths and universal imagery. His vision is one of hope and memory, of determination and faithfulness. For this far-reaching yet portable volume, Berry has chosen nearly two hundred poems from his previous eight collections.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLovely, raspberry : poems / Aaron Belz.
Clever wordplay in the style of the brilliant Billy Collins. “In this masterfully offbeat second collection, Aaron Belz writes with a deadpan whimsy that fronts mischievously for keen cultural insights in poems like You Bore Me, Asking Al Gore About the Muse, and Thirty Illegal Moves in the Cloud-Shape Game.” “Reading Aaron Belz is like dreaming of a summer vacation and then taking it.” – John Ashbery” (courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverOld Possum’s book of practical cats / by T.S. Eliot ; drawings by Edward Gorey.
“An engaging collection of humorous poems. These verses, originally composed to amuse Eliot’s intimate friends, have proven irresistible to cat lovers, lovers of nonsense, and admirers of Eliot throughout the English-speaking world. “Enough ferocious fancy and parody to knock the spots off most cat books and most…verses” (Time). Drawings by Nicolas Bentley.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNox / Anne Carson.
Moving, multi-media concertina-style – unique! “Created after the death of her brother, Carson’s haunting and beautiful “Nox” is her first book of poetry in five years–a unique, illustrated, accordion-fold-out “book in a box.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013 / selected by Glyn Maxwell.
Nobel prize winner and playful heavyweight. “Across sixty-five years, Walcott has grappled with the themes that have defined his work as they have defined his life: the unsolvable riddle of identity; the painful legacy of colonialism on his native Caribbean island of St. Lucia; the mysteries of faith and love and the natural world; the Western canon, celebrated and problematic; the trauma of growing old, of losing friends, family, one’s own memory. This collection, selected by Walcott’s friend the English poet Glyn Maxwell, will prove as enduring as the questions, the passions, that have driven Walcott to write for more than half a century.” (adapted from Syndetics annotation)

Syndetics book coverPoems that make grown men cry : 100 men on the words that move them / edited by Anthony and Ben Holden.Diverse, personal collection of moving poems from famous actors, writers and pop culture figures. “A unique collection of poetry so powerful that 100 grown men–bestselling authors, poets laureate, and other eminent figures from the arts, sciences, and politics–have been moved to tears. Here they deliver touching and insightful personal introductions to a range of beloved poems. …Father-and-son team Anthony and Ben Holden, a British writer and movie producer respectively, have teamed up to compile a poetry anthology unlike any other.” (adapted from the Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUltramarine / Raymond Carver.
“Mr. Carver is heir to that most appealing American poetic voice, the lyricism of Theodore Roethke and James Wright…. this book is a treasure, one to return to. No one’s brevity is as rich, as complete, as Raymond Carver’s.”–New York Times Book Review (Syndetics summary).
Also by the same poet: Where water comes together with other water : poems

Syndetics book coverAsk me : 100 essential poems / William Stafford ; edited by Kim Stafford.
Gentle spirit, Oregon poet and former Laureate. “In our time there has been no poet who revived human hearts and spirits more convincingly than William Stafford.” —Naomi Shihab Nye.

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life.
—from “Ask Me”
 “In celebration of the poet’s centennial, Ask Me collects one hundred of William Stafford’s essential poems. As a conscientious objector during World War II, while assigned to Civilian Public Service camps Stafford began his daily writing practice, a lifelong early-morning ritual of witness. His poetry reveals the consequences of violence, the daily necessity of moral decisions, and the bounty of art. Selected and with a note by Kim Stafford, Ask Me presents the best from a profound and original American voice.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCollected poems, 1947-1997 / Allen Ginsberg.Collected Poems, 1947-1997
“Here, for the first time, is a volume that gathers the published verse of Allen Ginsberg in its entirety, a half century of brilliant work from one of America’s great poets. As the chief figure among the Beats, Ginsberg changed the course of American poetry, liberating it from closed academic forms with the creation of open, vocal, spontaneous, and energetic postmodern verse. Ginsberg’s raw tones and attitudes of spiritual liberation also helped catalyze a psychological revolution that has become a permanent part of our cultural heritage, profoundly influencing not only poetry, popular song, and speech but also our view of the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Elemental : Central Otago poems by Brian Turner ; photographs by Gilbert Van Reenen.
Other animals by Therese Lloyd.
Kōiwi, kōiwi = Bone, bone by Hinemoana Baker.
First World War poems edited by Andrew Motion.

Entertaining, unpredictable alt-lit from Steve Roggenbuck:
If u dont love the moon your an ass hole : poems and selfies
Crunk juice

A lasting joy; an anthology chosen and introduced by C. Day Lewis.
Collected Poems by G. K. Chesterton
Come Rain Hail by Hone Tuwhare

And poets:

Lauris Edmond
Charles Brasch
Harry Ricketts
Gerard Manley Hopkins
John Betjeman